I've been remiss, yet again, in posting to our blog but I shall make a gallant effort to post regularly. I post to our group discussion list regular updates of our prison program based on our visits there. So, here is the first visit after our May 21st newbies arrived. I promise to post regularly!
Well, due to circumstances beyond our control, Kathy and I couldn’t get to the prison to check in with our newest group, until yesterday. We arrived around 10:15 a.m., promptly checking in at security.
Anyway, we checked in, making our way to the building where our men are housed. The men were in the classroom with their pups awaiting our arrival. It’s really nice when everything falls into place and they are there and ready!!
We immediately began reviewing commands with the primary handlers and their Greyhounds. After 3 ½ weeks, it’s amazing to me what these men have taught our pups. Some are more advanced in their commands than others but by the time of graduation (July 30th), they will all be proficient in their basic commands plus they will all have a few extras under their belt. Special extras like show me love, kiss, sloppy kiss (yes, there is a difference and it’s hysterical), speak, bow, crawl, limp, scratch, and one has even learned how to pick up his toys and put them in the toy basket.
It’s something else to watch the connection these inmates have with these dogs and vice verse. I remember watching Tito with his inmate. He never took his eyes off her while going through his commands and he is the same with me – completely focused. The eye contact is everything when connecting and training successfully with your Greyhound. And our inmates know that and are sure to incorporate this into their training.
But one inmate has gone above and beyond what the others are doing with their dogs. He has developed his own training treats while in prison. Yes, he has. He has taken the round Lose a Finger treats which he tops with peanut butter. He then adds another layer of jerky from another treat, smearing the peanut butter around the whole thing. Then, he puts these morsels into a jar which has crumbs from the crunchy treats, coating the entire concoction with crumbs. What does he call these treats? Why, “chain gang treats”, of course! Yes, and his dog loves them as you can imagine. His dog also has the most extensive list of extras. Must have something to do with those special, treats. I’d say he is doing something right!
Stay tuned . . .